Matt Kalin is a very intelligent young man.
The Mount Pleasant senior has outstanding grades and test scores. His top five college choices are Duke, Maryland, Michigan, Penn and Columbia. He plans to major in math or statistics.
He has become increasingly interested in sports analytics the last couple of years, developing a rating system to predict the outcomes of NFL, Major League Baseball and college football and basketball games.
Now, Kalin wants to take the next step. He wants to take on the Grand Poobah of Delaware high school football predictions.
That’s me, in case you were wondering. Stop laughing.
Kalin emailed me last month to ask if he could develop ratings for Delaware teams and see how his predictions stacked up against mine. So we’re going to give him a chance this fall, starting in today’s News Journal.
“I’ve always really liked math and sports, so I’ve always liked the stats,” Kalin said. “One day, I decided to find a way to rate the teams in the NFL, decide who was actually the best team. That’s what got me into it.”
Kalin said he has had success predicting NFL games the past two seasons. You can see all of his ratings — including for Delaware high school teams — at http://www.kalinratings.com
His calculations were originally based on the Elo system (Google it), which was first used for rating chess. He has since modified to account for margin of victory.
For the initial Delaware high school ratings, he used a combination of preseason ratings from maxpreps.com and last year’s points scored and points allowed with adjustments for Division I and Division II.
That’s too complicated for me, but Kalin claims he can not only predict the final score, but the chance each team has of winning boiled down to a percentage.
My method for predicting games is much more simple. I go to games, talk to coaches and players, study past performances and factor in temperature, wind, rain, relative humidity, barometric pressure, coaches’ and schools’ all-time win-loss records in day games, night games, on artificial turf or grass, how much homework the quarterback was assigned in the last three days and how many chores the kicker had to do this week. Dart boards, coin flips and palm readers are also employed from time to time.
Kalin is strictly a numbers man. If his numbers say Mount Pleasant isn’t going to win, he won’t pick Mount Pleasant to win. That could lead to some interesting conversations with the Green Knights’ football players between classes.
He has attended only one Delaware high school football game — Mount Pleasant’s homecoming two years ago. I go to as many games as anybody, usually three or four per week, at least 40 each season. So it will be interesting to see which method is more accurate — Matt’s cold calculations or my semi-scientific wild guesses.
We only differ on one prediction this week. Matt’s computer says Newark will defeat St. Mark’s 21-17. Brad says St. Mark’s will take the 4.4-mile bus ride (did he factor that?) to Newark and come home with a 17-15 victory.
Come on, Spartans, don’t let me down. I’ve gotta beat this kid.
DFRC Kickoff Classics
Delaware’s 2016-17 high school sports season begins with two football games on Thursday. A.I. du Pont will travel to Sussex Tech and McKean will take on St. Elizabeth at Baynard Stadium in the seventh annual DFRC Kickoff Classics. Both games start at 7 p.m.
A.I. and Sussex Tech are 90 miles apart, but the schools have played an entertaining football series over the last five years. Tech was won four of the five games, including the last three, and all have featured plenty of points. The Ravens won 27-26 last year in Greenville, and are coming off an 8-3 season. The Tigers finished 4-6 last year.
St. Elizabeth defeated McKean 26-6 last year in the only recent game between the schools. The Vikings went 4-6 and the Highlanders were 3-7 last season, but both teams have the ingredients to improve.
The Kickoff Classic get the football season started a day early and raise awareness of the Delaware Foundation Reaching Citizens with intellectual disabilities. Tickets for each game are $5.
Colonials giving back
William Penn has moved Friday’s football home opener against St. Georges to Caravel’s Bob Peoples Stadium to play under the lights with a 7:30 p.m. kickoff and raise funds and awareness for 22 in 22, a program started by former St. Mark’s student Jacob Di Sabatino and his father, Brian.
The program gets its name from the 22 veteran suicides that occur daily, according to a 2012 Department of Veterans Affairs report. The program is designed to raise funds and awareness to try to decrease soldier and veteran suicide.
William Penn’s ROTC program will be involved with the game, and a portion of the proceeds from ticket sales will go to 22 in 22.
Sallies soccer ranked 6th
The defending DIAA Division I champion Salesianum soccer team is ranked sixth nationally in the first USA Today/NSCAA Super 25 of the season. The Sals are also ranked first in Region IV, which includes Delaware, D.C., Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.
Charter of Wilmington is ranked eighth regionally, and the Sals and Force are ranked 1-2 in Delaware’s Division I by The News Journal.
Salesianum will start the season against Sussex Tech in the annual Delaware Association of Athletic Directors Upstate-Downstate Challenge at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Dover High.
The Sals will take on Caravel — ranked second statewide in Division II — on Sept. 13. Then Sallies will head for Colorado Sept. 16-17 to meet Fairview, which is ranked fifth nationally, and Boulder High. It will get even tougher Oct. 8 when the Sals play St. Benedict’s Prep (N.J.) — ranked second nationally — at Caravel.
The DAAD Upstate-Downstate Challenge will feature six other games, all at Dover High. Delaware Academy of Public Safety and Security will meet Seaford at 9:30 a.m., followed by Milford vs. Appoquinimink at 11:30, Dover vs. Newark Charter at 1:30 p.m., Caesar Rodney vs. Charter at 3:30, Lake Forest vs. Dickinson at 6:30 and Polytech vs. Middletown at 7:30.
Contact Brad Myers at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter: @BradMyersTNJ.